Neurological Rehabilitation Research

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Neurological Rehabilitation Research Center

The University of Maryland Rehabilitation Research Center, directed by Dr. Peter Gorman, is a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopaedic Institute, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the VA Maryland Healthcare System. It has been generously supported by seed money from the Kernan Endowment Board.

The Center's specialized and advanced research programs have been developed in stroke and spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and future work in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation is under development.

Focus for much of the work has been in exercise and robotic rehab for people with various neurological conditions. Additional faculty member interests are behavioral neurology and the functional basis for neurological recovery.

Click below to learn more about our research programs.

Stroke Rehabilitation

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In collaboration with the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dr. George Wittenberg oversees MERCE, whose mission is to:

  • Develop novel exercise and robotics therapies to improve lower and upper extremity motor function, cardiovascular fitness and health
  • Perform mechanistic studies of brain plasticity, muscle biology, cardiovascular, and mental health within these novel rehabilitation therapies to understand how they provide health benefits. Our team applies this knowledge ,along with advances in rehabilitation technology and robotics engineering, toward the design of even more effective therapies.
  • Foster community outreach
  • Provide study enrollment opportunities for veterans and non-veterans.

Research work centers on the following four areas:

  • Cardiovascular health exercise and strength training in stroke and neurological conditions
  • Brain physiology
  • Robot-assisted neurological training in stroke and other neurological conditions
  • Wellness and community-centered programs in stroke and other neurological conditions

Within the center, Dr. Michael Dimyan is looking to predict the response to upper extremity robotic rehabilitation using functional MRI and techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Dr. George Wittenberg is looking into how practice in daily life tasks after robotic rehabilitation might improve functional outcomes. His currently recruiting clinical trial information can be found on this clinicaltrials.gov web link: Neurophysiological and Kinematic Predictors of Response in Chronic Stroke.

Drs. Richard Macko, Anindo Roy, Larry Forrester and Glenn Kehs are applying robotic principles to the lower extremity using a device called the “Anklebot”.  This device has been shown to improve walking in acute stroke rehabilitation, and has the potential to provide improvement in voluntary ankle control better than existing rehabilitation techniques.

Here is a link to the current ankle robot clinical trial entitled “Ankle Robot to Reduce Foot-Drop in Chronic Stroke.”